Sunday, November 26, 2017

Colombia day 16: Colombia high on the white(ish) stuff

That's right: we went in search of snow.
The 4.15am alarm seemed very early. Guess we need rest days like this to make us appreciate the cycling days all the more!
The part of Los Nevados park we were headed to can only be reached by some 3 hours of dirt road (more like offroad) driving. Along with the altitude gain and distinct gasoline fumes in the aging and abused Land Cruiser, we were all a bit bleary and weary before any hiking started! We were in a small group with 3 other English speakers - a mother and preteen daughters from Canada who moved to Colombia in August. Fascinating to hear their stories! (Dad is busy studying for Masters so they get out the way every weekend doing something fun). There were probably 10 jeeps heading up in all, the rest with domestic tourists I believe.
The drive up probably did have the best views of the day, both stunning and precarious roads on sheer mountain sides, and up towards the central range of volocanos we were heading towards. The most famous cones are relatively active so have an exclusion zone. Santa Isabel on the other hand hadn't ereupted for some 8000 years so odds were in our favour for a quiet trip.

This volcano is also home to Colombia's lowest glacier. 100 years ago Colombia had 19 glaciers, it's now down to just 6 and expects all of those to be gone in the next 20 years. Santa Isabel, being the lowest, is retreating fastest and won't last 10 more years. So we were fortunate to get chance to see it, or what's left of it.

The drive back down was equally tiring, riding in the Fume Cupboard as I'd now dubbed it. All the excitement brought out my annoying cough into a full blown cold, so tomorrow we'll take a much more restful rest day!

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